Saturday, July 31, 2010

Calorie Counting Week 2 Day 2 & 3

I'm sitting here trying to figure out the calories in the food on the happy hour menu at McCormicks because we have plans to go there in a couple hours. I'm kind of debating if it might not be a terrible idea to just scratch this meal from my records and eat what I want. I'm not missing food really. I'm not craving ribs and cheeseburgers. But I kind of don't want to burn out on tracking all of this stuff (and it is starting to get a bit old) and I feel like I deserve a reward that I don't have to put on my spreadsheet.
One of the meals at McCormicks.
Doesn't it look healthy and delicious?!

On the other hand I know I'm going to be worried about it. I've been doing so great at keeping this up and writing down everything I eat with as much accuracy as I can muster. I've also done really good at staying in my limits. It's hard to get enough protein every day without going too crazy on the fat. I just don't want to mess up a good thing.

I think I'm going to risk it. The portions are small and I can't set myself back that far. Tomorrow I'll be back on the wagon.

In related news, I reconfigured my excel spreadsheet and it's much fancier now. I even used a formula that I've never used before. I'm hoping that it will be easier to use so that I won't have to spend as much time on it every day, thus making my success more probable. Again, if anyone's interested I'm happy to share!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Calorie Counting Week 2 Day 1

Well, I have reason to celebrate - I think. I really need to get a better scale. Mine is a dial kind so it's really hard to tell if it's accurate or not. Anyway, I weighed myself this morning and then again when I got home from work just to be sure, but it looks like I'm down about 4 pounds. I'm thrilled!
I went to pick up my wedding ring from the jeweler today after I got off work but it wasn't there yet. So I wandered around the mall while I was waiting. I stopped into my favorite store of all time, The Limited, and tried on a couple things just because it was nice to have their clothes fit nicely. I have longer to go so I didn't buy anything, but they have some super cute pink and purple stuff right now!
I also ate a chocolate truffle from Godiva which ended up being far less terrible than I expected when I finally got home to count up my calories so far.
I am really looking forward to having another week of success. I'm anticipating there being more of a challenge this week because we're out of money for groceries and once I run out of fruit I have to figure out other means of healthy snacks. Fruit has been my hero so far! And having food in my kitchen that I know I can eat has also been really helpful.
I also wanted to say that I am so appreciative of all of your comments. You guys have been my cheerleaders and I love it! I want to cheer you too!

I am super tired right now, but I'm going to go to dragon boating practice and exert any energy I might have left. It's amazing how sitting on your ass for 9 hours straight takes so much out of you!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Calorie Counting Day 7

Today marks 1 week! I feel good that I'm going strong. I've never been able to track my progress this successfully. It's good stuff.
Today I packed extra food in my lunch so that my lunch would be a bigger meal than my dinner. Strangely, I wasn't as hungry today and I ended up not eating the extra 200 calories I brought with me. It's amazing how much easier it is for me to tell if I'm actually hungry when I haven't really had any refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. For anyone who doesn't know, hfcs is a sweetener substitute often used in foods instead of sugar. The reason it sucks is that it doesn't satisfy our craving for sweetness naturally and you end up eating more than would normally satisfy you. Normally when you consume food, hormones release and tell your brain that your stomach is full (before you feel like you need a wheelbarrow to carry your stomach around in). Hfcs blocks this hormone so that you can't tell when you're full and your end up consuming more than you need.

The good news is that since I was able to gauge my hunger today I have enough calories left to have a scoop of light ice cream at Baskin Robbins! Woo! That's a good celebration item, especially because it's well within my calorie allotment for the day.

This makes my hero for the day the Premium Churned Light Aloha Brownie Ice Cream. Only 150 calories for a kid sized scoop! I can even have the cone for another 45 calories. Oh, and they use sugar instead of corn syrup. Booyah!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of another week. Hopefully it will be as easy as this week was. I'm still kind of bummed about the results. I measured myself today and my measurements are exactly the same. I think I may be down about 3 pounds, but it's really hard to gauge in this weather and with my scale. I think when I get my first paycheck I might go invest in a good scale that measures to the tenth of a pound. Then I'll have a better idea of whether or not my efforts are making a difference.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Calorie Counting Day 6

Today went okay. I think I needed to pack more food in my lunch because I felt hungry all afternoon and ended up eating half my lunch before lunch even happened. I ended up low on my calories by the end of the day and had to figure out more stuff to eat that was healthy and wouldn't put me too high. I haven't managed to lose any weight yet sadly. I'm hoping it's just the weather that's making me retain water.

I'm pretty happy that I've been doing this nearly a week and have yet to do poorly. Not only that, I haven't been obsessed about food which I think is the key to doing well when you cut back. Yay.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Counting Calories Day 5

Okay, I never thought this would happen. I'm sitting here right now not wanting to really eat anything else and I haven't even had 1000 calories today. I'm going to make myself a chicken breast since I am seriously lacking protein, but how on earth can I not want to eat everything in sight!?

Today was apparently easy. Excel spreadsheet FTW!

By the way, if you didn't already know, baked sweet potatoes feel like cheating when you're on a diet and a small one is only 160 calories. And they don't need anything added because they're so flipping good by themselves!

* amendment*
So, upon further research, I realized after I posted this that I forgot to count some corn salad I had eaten and my morning coffee. Which, after the chicken breast, put me up to about 1300 calories, which has been my daily average. It helps to remember what you ate! So now I'm tracking my food before I eat it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Calorie Counting Day 3 & 4

So far so good. The last two days have been a bit of a challenge, but nothing that I couldn't handle with some determination. I actually have managed to work pizza, onion rings, and beer into my meals! The trick is portion control and anticipation. I knew that we'd be eating out last night so I ate basically just vegetables until then and looked up what I could eat ahead of time so that I wasn't going too far overboard.

Today I paddled and I figured that with a two hour practice (that I felt by the end!) I needed some serious recovery food so I allowed myself to eat eggs and potatoes with a piece of toast afterwards. I talked to my coach about possibly doing some one-on-one paddling so I can get better with the technique and feel more confident on the water. He had corrected me on something today that I didn't even realize what he meant for a good amount of time and I would rather fix those kinds of things without slowing the whole boat down while he explains it to me. I've been really uninterested in going to practice this last week and I think I need another boost to motivate me. It was a bit of a blow when I didn't get to paddle in half of the heats at the last race in spite of the fact that I had been pushing so hard to improve. It felt like I got no reward for my work, and it's hard to stay focused when that happens.

I was able to work some pizza into my diet for dinner. The challenge was not eating more than two slices. Pizza I think is the hardest thing for me because I never feel like I've eaten that much and I end up eating half a pie before I've realized how many calories I've consumed. But I did good and didn't overdo it.

So far the scale hasn't proven anything. I haven't lost any weight at all actually. But it's been so hot the last few days that I'm sure some of it is water weight and I've been drinking water like crazy so I'll just blame that to make myself feel better.

Tomorrow I start a new job and I already know what I'm going to eat. I think this is one of the keys to success. Having food around that you know is okay to eat is immensely helpful even if it's somewhat boring. The other good thing is the excel spreadsheet I've been using to track on. It's actually pretty easy to enter stuff in and to see what I have left for the day with the format I set up. I'm happy to share if anyone wants to see it. If you want me to send you the file let me know! I'm happy to share. So far this is the only thing I've used to track that I'm actually consistent about.

Google Doc of Excel Calorie Counter

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Calorie Counting Day 2

Well, I half expected this day to suck. The reason being that I went to a barbeque. I decided to try to eat beforehand so that all I would do was graze. Taco bell's fresco menu rocks! The calories are right on the drive-thru menu so you can order accordingly. I got a crunchy fresco taco for 150 calories and a fresco chicken soft taco for 135 calories which both were filling enough that I wasn't really hungry by the time I got to Greshem. Best part is that it's CHEAP! I decided to get a case of low calorie beer (MGD 64). It wasn't as terrible as I'd expected it to be but went right through me so I had to pee every ten minutes. That part sucked. But it was nice to be able to drink socially. I managed to get away with small bites of a couple of foods people had brought and I ate mostly melon which is surprisingly very low calorie. All-in-all I actually managed to eat fewer calories yesterday than the day before!

I think what I find cool about doing this is that I have had to make very small adjustments. Usually when I start paying attention to what I'm eating I have to make drastic changes to my food supplies and it's really challenging to figure out what is okay to eat without resources to figure it out. But I know what's okay now because I've done this so many times. I have the tools I just need to have the discipline to use them! The other thing that's weird about this is that usually I'm pretty hungry and I have to control myself against my urges, but so far I haven't had any at all.  I don't feel hungry as long as I stay on target with the carbs and protein. I just hope the scale continues my motivation!

Today I'm thinking I'll try to convince Paul to go on a really long bike ride since he wants to go to Saylors for happy hour. They pretty much just have steak and onion rings. It's pretty impossible to eat anything healthy at happy hour. Hopefully if I do succumb to the onion ring loaf, at least I'll have earned it right?!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Calorie Counting Day 1

Well, today makes 1 day of counting calories and I am now left to drink water the rest of the night. My tracker says I went about 100 calories over my goal of 1500, but I was right within my goals for fat, carbs, and protein.
Today was pretty easy to stay within my goals because I have the necessary groceries. I guess tomorrow I'll have to replenish a couple of items to stay on target, but hopefully it will be an easy day too.

Sticking with it

So, I contemplated moving my blog to livejournal, but I've decided that I've already spent hours configuring this journal and finally have it looking exactly how I want. So I'm sticking with this.

I think I'm going to set a new goal for food. I'm going to count my calories for 2 weeks starting today. I think if I do I'll lose 10 pounds - or close to it. I can tell that I'm getting some tone from the few things I have been doing to exercise, I just want to keep some forward momentum. I've actually been eating fairly healthy for the most part. I found these really delicious chicken sausages that are only 90 calories at costco that I've been eating for lunches. I think if I can just watch that I don't eat too much of what I'm eating I'll be in a good place.

Tuesday I paddled dragon boat practice without my inhaler. I felt like I was going to hyperventilate a few times, but I survived. It's amazing the mental conversation I had with myself during that practice. It was something like..."you just have to survive for a few more minutes and you won't even remember how bad your lungs hurt lungs hurt, if I hurl myself into the river I won't have to breathe anymore!'s okay you'll be fine..." back and forth. I'm sure I'm not the only one that has these mental battles when I exercise. I think it really helps to think about it when I'm not in the thick of it though. Right now I feel fine and I can breathe!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Aqua Jogging FTW!

This is a video that kind of shows you what aqua jogging is like. Basically you wear a belt that helps you float so you can run. I went to the community pool today and tried it out. I jogged for about 45 minutes and could have gone longer but there were a bunch of old ladies doing aerobics at the other end of the pool and I wanted to avoid them in the locker room.

Anyway, I thought it was a pretty easy workout that got my heart-rate up and I could feel my muscles getting tired (especially when I got out of the pool). So when I got home I researched and found out I could buy the waistband at Sports Authority for about $25. Which means, for $25, I can go aqua jogging the pool at my apartment complex for the rest of the summer. Sounds like a good deal to me!

I also rode several miles on my bike. I think I'm done exercising today.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Back on Track

Today was the first day that I have attempted to get back on track for C25K. I know I posted awhile ago that I was going to do so, but I managed to injure my foot in a mad dash through a parking lot. I must give credit to my awesome husband who chased me with his hands covered in wet polyurethane. At any rate, I wasn't wearing good shoes and I wasn't wearing my orthotics and I don't know what I did exactly but the top of my foot hurt for about 3 weeks after.

Well, now it feels better. So I decided to gear up and get my ass back outside. I bought some running shorts, which I've never owned before, and I really like them! They actually have room in them for people to have some junk in the trunk! New stuff always helps push me to do something with it. I can't be dressed in fancy new running clothes and not go running!

Anyway, I decided to just walk today to get back in the habit. I figured if I had a destination I would walk further (which was true) so I took off down a side road to find the trail that I like to go to. Normally I drive there, so I thought I'd see if I could walk there. I didn't find it, but I did find a playground that I remember my mom bringing my siblings and me to when we were kids. It's especially grand with lots of places to hide and crawl. I have lofty plans to take nephews there in the future!

So, I'm glad that I got back out and am starting to work on this again. I was thinking about a goal I can make, and I thought it might be fun to put together a team for Race for the Cure. I think between Paul and I there are four women in our immediate and extended families that have battled breast cancer and it just seems like we should support it. So, if anyone else is interested in being on a team, let me know and I'll start putting it together!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Dragon Boating and Singing are good together

This video is from our second race in Salem. I'm in the green vest in the very last row.
During practice Sunday I started thinking about Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink. The book talks about how when people reach an expert level at something they approach it differently when approached with a problem. It's because they know what information to discard, what's relevant and what's not. I think once you've reached an expert level at something (for me it's singing), you start to really understand how to analyze new things that you try and how to latch on to what you already know.

That said I've been trying to find parallels in the technicality and physicality of boating that relate to what I know already and so far I have a pretty good list going.

Here's what I got so far.

Dragon Boating Singing
Requires controlled breathing Requires controlled breathing
Has you engage core strength to rotate and pull the paddle Has you release your core and engage it again to control breathing
Coach yells at you if your face gets tense Voice teacher yells at you if your face gets tense
Has multiple physical and technical elements that all have to work together for maximum efficiency (posture, rotation, blade angle, specific muscles engaged and disengaged, arm position) Has multiple elements that have to work together for maximum efficiency (posture, placement, resonance, breathing, expressivity)
Requires time and practice to perfect. Requires time and practice to perfect.
Must be in perfect sync with your teammates by keeping time with the paddler in front of you. (in choir) Must be in perfect sync with fellow singers by keeping time with the conductor in front of you.
Is ten times more difficult if you use the wrong muscles and technique. Is more difficult and unpleasant with the wrong muscles and technique.

These are just some of the comparisons I can think of right now. At any rate, I find myself thinking about these things every time I'm out on the water. If I can teach people to sing, I can get good at paddling!